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Johnson v. Calvert

Law Dictionary
CASE BRIEFS

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Health Law Keyed to Furrow

Held. When a fertilized egg is formed from the reproductive cells of a husband and wife and is then implanted into the uterus of another woman, resulting in a child that is unrelated to her genetically, the natural parents are the husband and wife.  The presentation of a blood test as evidence and proof of having given birth are both ways of establishing maternity.  However, when the two ways do not coincide in one woman, under state law, the natural mother is the one who intended to bring about the birth of the child whom she intended to raise as her own.  From the beginning, Plaintiff intended to be the child"s mother.  It is safe to say that Defendant would not have been given the opportunity to become pregnant or deliver the child if she had made obvious her own intent to be the child"s mother prior to implantation of the fertilized egg.  Affirmed

Dissent. (Kennard, J.)  The majority"s resort to "intent" to break the "tie" between the genetic and gestational mothers is unsupported by statute and is ill advised.  The best interests of the child is the standard that should be applied, and which is most protective of child welfare.  Application of the majority"s rule of intent will not serve the child"s best interests in every case.  The court of appeal"s judgment should be reversed.

Discussion. In its discussion, the majority applied certain portions of the Uniform Parentage Act and the Evidence code to make its determination of parentage.  As a means of determining parentage, the court saw no clear legislative preference in the Act between blood-testing evidence and proof of having given birth.  California law recognizes only one natural mother, despite advances in reproductive technology rendering a different outcome biologically possible.  The court declined to consider the contention of amicus curiae, specifically, that the court should find that the child has two mothers.

Black Letter Law: to view the black letter law, scroll down to the LexisNexis Headnotes of this case.  What’s a headnote?


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